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Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Wed 05 Mar 2014, 01:19:19
by dohboi
Nice pair of articles, G. The juxtaposition is striking. If anyone doubted just how f'ed we are, they would just have to read these two. (Of course, if they were already in a technofantasy mindset, they would just ignore the first one and jump on the second.)

We are an insane child throwing ever more blankets over ourselves while insisting that mom (scientists) find some fantastical way to cool us off since we're getting so hot--even as we continue to throw ever thick blankets over ourselves at an ever greater rate. Really, though, no analogy or comparison can capture the sheer inanity and horror of our idiocy.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Wed 05 Mar 2014, 01:33:14
by americandream

Never forget that we are all in the fishbowl of capitalist culture so thinking outside the bowl calls for a deep level of awareness. The ordinary man or woman on the street are essentially in the grip of a self reinforcing mindset that will be extremely challenging to penetrate. Whether we will be able to is debateable given the hold this culture has over minds.

This reminds me of the reactions I get when I get around the place...which I invariably do by walking in most instances. The startled looks of bewilderment that I am not driving say it all. So even though many of us are aware of the carbon issue, the all pervading culture still maintains a compelling hold over our minds.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Wed 05 Mar 2014, 17:46:37
by Graeme
Soil as Carbon Storehouse: New Weapon in Climate Fight?

In the 19th century, as land-hungry pioneers steered their wagon trains westward across the United States, they encountered a vast landscape of towering grasses that nurtured deep, fertile soils.

Today, just three percent of North America's tallgrass prairie remains. Its disappearance has had a dramatic impact on the landscape and ecology of the U.S., but a key consequence of that transformation has largely been overlooked: a massive loss of soil carbon into the atmosphere. The importance of soil carbon - how it is leached from the earth and how that process can be reversed - is the subject of intensifying scientific investigation, with important implications for the effort to slow the rapid rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

According to Rattan Lal, director of Ohio State University's Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, the world's cultivated soils have lost between 50 and 70 percent of their original carbon stock, much of which has oxidized upon exposure to air to become CO2. Now, armed with rapidly expanding knowledge about carbon sequestration in soils, researchers are studying how land restoration programs in places like the former North American prairie, the North China Plain, and even the parched interior of Australia might help put carbon back into the soil.

Absent carbon and critical microbes, soil becomes mere dirt, a process of deterioration that's been rampant around the globe. Many scientists say that regenerative agricultural practices can turn back the carbon clock, reducing atmospheric CO2 while also boosting soil productivity and increasing resilience to floods and drought. Such regenerative techniques include planting fields year-round in crops or other cover, and agroforestry that combines crops, trees, and animal husbandry.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Wed 05 Mar 2014, 18:40:42
by dohboi
Permafrost alone constitutes about half of all carbon in all soils. So it is unlikely that adding carbon to soils is going to offset even this one feedback. And keep in mind that there is no guarantee that carbon stored in soils will stay there--in fact it is quite likely that most soils will degrade, dry up, wash way or another losing most of their carbon to the air and sea.

Not that I'm opposed to these approaches. I think they are our pretty much our best hope on the carbon capture and storage front.

I just don't think we should ever think of any one strategy as being any kind of silver bullet.

Keep up the good posts and links, though, G. It's all good fodder for discussion.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Wed 05 Mar 2014, 18:56:42
by Graeme
Here's a couple of quotes from the full article:

Scientists say that more carbon resides in soil than in the atmosphere and all plant life combined; there are 2,500 billion tons of carbon in soil, compared with 800 billion tons in the atmosphere and 560 billion tons in plant and animal life. And compared to many proposed geoengineering fixes, storing carbon in soil is simple: It’s a matter of returning carbon where it belongs.

As basic as soil carbon is, there’s much scientists are just learning about it, including how to make the most of its CO2 sequestration capacity. One promising strategy, says Goreau, is bolstering soil microbiology by adding beneficial microbes to stimulate the soil cycles where they have been interrupted by use of insecticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. As for agroforestry, programs with greater species diversity are better able to maximize the storage of carbon than monocultures. Many researchers are looking to biochar — produced when plant matter, manure, or other organic material is heated in a zero- or low-oxygen environment — for its ability to turn problem areas into productive sites while building soil carbon. Says Goreau, "Vast areas of deforested land that have been abandoned after soil degradation are excellent candidates for replanting and reforestation using biochar from the weeds now growing there."

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Wed 05 Mar 2014, 19:29:46
by dohboi
Thanks for the added info. Pretty much what I have heard. Permafrost has 1300-1700 Gt C, so half or a bit more than half that of all other soils combined and over twice as much C as in all plants and animals. Of course the fossil carbon we are un-sequestering every day dwarfs both of these in total potential size (and destruction). And we haven't even begun to talk about clathrates.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Thu 06 Mar 2014, 17:26:44
by Graeme
Don't waste CO2, turn it into bottles and glue

IF HUMANITY is to avoid dangerous climate change, we need to capture hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide. But what to do with it all? There is no shortage of places to bury it (see "Trailblazing power plant is first to bury its carbon"), but we can at least put some of it to good use. A few start-up companies view CO2 as a resource rather than a waste product. They are using CO2 as the raw material for making products including superglue and fertiliser.

Liquid Light of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, showed off its prototype CO2 converter at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington DC last week. About the length and width of a coffee table, and a few inches thick, the module is a layer cake of steel and plastic. Inside it are catalysts that can produce more than 60 carbon-based chemicals, from just CO2 and electricity. By linking many of these devices together, a chemical plant could convert CO2 into hundreds of thousands of tonnes of products in a year, says co-founder Kyle Teamey.

Helping chemical companies switch their feedstock to CO2 does more than boost their green credentials. "Almost all of their expenses are based on buying oil or natural gas or biomass," says Teamey. So releasing it into the air is perverse. "It's not just pollution, it's actually losing the value of the stuff they bought in the first place."


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Mon 17 Mar 2014, 19:32:55
by Graeme
One Solution to Climate Change and Growing Healthier Food Is Right Under Our Feet

Barbra Streisand !!!

Imagine if we could quickly reduce the threat of climate change and grow healthier crops at the same time, without the sacrifice the coal and oil industry tells us are inevitable! Turns out we can, and the solution is literally right under our feet.

As we know now, too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere is disastrous for our planet. CO2 traps heat and results in the ice caps melting, more extreme weather, sea levels rising and a variety of consequences that will disrupt life as we know it.

Much of the CO2 in the atmosphere (as much as 30 percent) is leaked by industrial farming. Climate scientists tell us there should be no more than 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere and we are already at 400 ppm. What does this mean? We are racing against the carbon clock to combat climate change.

However... CO2 in the ground, where it naturally occurs, is in fact necessary for fertile soil, and results in healthier and more drought-resistant cropland. We can keep CO2 in the ground through a natural process that traps it in a "carbon sink." That process is organic or "carbon farming."

We all remember learning about photosynthesis in school. Plants manufacture much of their food from sunlight, water and CO2, turning those molecules into food. The CO2 is exchanged with the fungi and bacteria in the soil that need it to make richer soil and, in turn, healthier plants. In doing so, the CO2 is captured in the ground. In this natural ecological barter system, carbon is sequestered, helping plants grow while keeping the soil healthy. Industrial farming literally prevents this underground transaction from happening by releasing the CO2 into the atmosphere.

Organic farms, like the famous Rodale Farming System Trial in Pennsylvania, showed that building up soil carbon has other benefits too. It also acts like a water sponge and helps maintain crop yields when conventionally grown crops are dying of thirst during droughts. Unfortunately, extreme droughts may become the new normal as climate change alters our weather patterns, giving us yet another reason to implement organic farming on a large scale. According to the USDA-funded Marin Carbon Project, the overuse use of insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers also release what is normally sequestered carbon -- adding to the problems of climate change.

The good news is that if humans get out of the way, CO2 can be tucked back in the soil to do good, instead of being trapped in the atmosphere doing harm. A U.N. report noted using carbon sinks through natural farming methods could reduce the carbon in the atmosphere to pre-industrial levels in just 50 years!


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Tue 18 Mar 2014, 09:47:27
by dohboi
LOL--I thought you meant that Streisand was under our feet and was a solution to CC!!

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Tue 18 Mar 2014, 16:59:59
by clif
Hopefully Geo-engineering won't fail like this;

Corn-eating worm evolves to feed on GMO corn designed to kill it ... o-kill-it/

The crop itself is not to blame, say scientists, but rather mismanagement by farmers, corporations and lawmakers that has led to the squandering of whatever benefits had been gained by the use of the genetically modified crop.


In order to keep the rootworms from developing a resistance to the Bt corn toxin, farmers were told to keep “refuges” of non-Bt corn so that rootworms could grow there unaffected. Those worms were meant to be mated with worms in Bt fields in order to keep the worms from developing an immunity to the GMO corn.

Scientists proposed to the EPA that farms should consist of at least half non-Bt corn, but these regulations were opposed by the seed companies peddling the GMO corn. Eventually, the EPA set voluntary guidelines of 5 to 10 percent of land left for non-Bt corn.

Many farmers didn’t even follow that recommendation.

Now, rootworms are back, returning in 2009 to cornfields in northeastern Iowa. Those worms had become resistant to one species of the three available Bt corn types. More reports followed from Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

The path of most failures of human designed solutions, People who for greed or arrogance refuse to do the prudent thing, and just end up making matters worse.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Tue 18 Mar 2014, 17:11:07
by Graeme
D, Didn't expect that response! Just goes to show that internet communication can be so easily misinterpreted. I was surprised that Barbara is writing about environmental issues (along with other celebrities such as Darryl Hannah and Robert Redford). Also I haven't read the UN article she refers to about the length of time it would take to sequester carbon using soil. That is interesting and would appear to offer hope that this method could work if enough effort was put into it by governments and farmers.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Mon 24 Mar 2014, 19:28:42
by Graeme
Cold short-cut to carbon dioxide storage

Could refrigeration technology -- against all the odds -- kick-start CO2 storage in the North Sea?

All over the world, scientists are on the hunt for solutions that will allow CO2 to be captured from large power stations and industrial plants. Many of the methods in use today employ chemicals or advanced materials to extract CO2 from flue-gases. But now, a chilly alternative is showing signs of heating up.

When CO2-rich gases are compressed and refrigerated, the carbon dioxide turns into a liquid -- like steam on a cold bathroom mirror -- and can be drawn off. Calculations performed by SINTEF, the largest independent research organisation in Scandinavia, suggest that in many cases, this method is cheaper and less energy-intensive than competing capture methods, in spite of predictions that the opposite would turn out to be true. This is good news for everyone who hopes that Europe will soon start to implement carbon capture and storage (CCS).

"CO2 captured in liquid form can be loaded straight aboard a vessel and be transported to offshore storage sites before pipelines have been laid. If our findings open up the possibility of cold CO2 capture, they could help to bring forward the introduction of CO2 storage beneath the North Sea," says SINTEF research scientist Kristin Jordal.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Mon 24 Mar 2014, 19:50:23
by dohboi ... ate-change

We can't just geoengineer our way out of climate change
By David Suzuki

Because nature doesn’t always behave the same in a lab, test tube or computer program as it does in the real world, scientists and engineers have come up with ideas that didn’t turn out as expected.

DDT was considered a panacea for a range of insect pest issues, from controlling disease to helping farmers. But we didn’t understand bioaccumulation back then -- toxins concentrating up the food chain, risking the health and survival of animals from birds to humans. Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, seemed so terrific we put them in everything from aerosol cans to refrigerators. Then we learned they damage the ozone layer, which protects us from harmful solar radiation.

These unintended consequences come partly from our tendency to view things in isolation, without understanding how all nature is interconnected. We’re now facing the most serious unintended consequence ever: climate change from burning fossil fuels. Some proposed solutions may also result in unforeseen outcomes...

But we’re still running up against those pesky unintended consequences. Scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, studied five geoengineering schemes and concluded they’re "either relatively ineffective with limited warming reductions, or they have potentially severe side effects and cannot be stopped without causing rapid climate change." That’s partly because we don’t fully understand climate and weather systems and their interactions.

That doesn’t mean we should rule out geoengineering. Climate change is so serious that we’ll need to marshal everything we have to confront it, and some methods appear to be more benign than others. But geoengineering isn’t the solution. And it’s no excuse to go on wastefully burning fossil fuels. We must conserve energy and find ways to quickly shift to cleaner sources.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Mon 24 Mar 2014, 19:58:34
by Graeme
D, I like this part of your quote. I think we are going to have to use some of them (listed above and in previous thread) to lessen the effects of gw later this century.

That doesn’t mean we should rule out geoengineering. Climate change is so serious that we’ll need to marshal everything we have to confront it, and some methods appear to be more benign than others.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Mon 24 Mar 2014, 22:00:38
by dohboi
You little devil, you. I knew you would pick that one line out of the whole otherwise-cautionary article.

I guess we all focus in on what we want to hear.

For the record, I don't think we can rule anything much out at this point, but I do think we should constantly reflect on the essential mindset that got us into this mess and try not to act out the same destructive memes that produced our current horrific predicaments.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Tue 25 Mar 2014, 17:24:43
by Graeme
D, Of course we have to stop emitting ghg in the first place but there is already a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere which has to be removed somehow. Here is what the IPPC say on the subject:

The world’s governments tasked the IPCC with investigating these emerging technologies, and three things are clear from the IPCC’s brief analysis:

Carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management might have benefits for the climate system, but they also carry risks, and at this stage it is unknown what the balance of benefits and risks may be.

The overall effects of solar radiation management for regional and global weather patterns are likely to be uncertain, unpredictable, and broadly distributed across countries. As with climate change itself, there would most likely be winners and losers if solar radiation management technologies were to be used.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, solar radiation management does not provide an alternative to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, since it does not address the rising emissions that are the root cause of ocean acidification and other non-temperature related climate change impacts.

This last point is particularly important. The most that could be expected from solar radiation management would be to serve as a temporary tool to manage some temperature-related climate risks.


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Tue 25 Mar 2014, 19:38:43
by dohboi
Yep, further evidence of the utterly desperate situation we know find ourselves in.

It's all over now, baby...

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Wed 26 Mar 2014, 10:11:03
by Timo
My state just repealed our renewable energy quotas.

Our leaders are just sticking their heads in the sand and taking the Koch's money to make any recognition of reality against the law.

I'm glad i don't have any children.

Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Sat 29 Mar 2014, 17:01:37
by Graeme
Give geoengineering a chance to fix climate change: David Keith

There may indeed be broad agreement among scientists that climate change is happening, that humans are causing it and that urgent action is needed to prevent a global disaster. New reports from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change only add to the weight of science’s verdict on the subject. Just what to do about climate change, however - and how quickly - is still a matter of intense political and policy debate.

And if you really want to see the sparks fly, try suggesting geoengineering as a solution to global warming.

As the term implies, geoengineering is engineering on a planetary scale.

Geoengineering is an attempt to arrest the course of climate change through a number of different schemes, such as seeding the atmosphere with reflective particles. Or putting gigantic mirrors in orbit around the Earth to reflect sunlight back to space. Or fertilizing the ocean with iron to stimulate the growth of carbon-absorbing plankton.

For a lot of people, it sounds like mad science.

And geoengineering has been a magnet for controversy and criticism. Its opponents include some of the world’s most prominent environmentalists, including David Suzuki and Al Gore.

Earlier this year, in fact, the former U.S. Vice President said that the very idea of geoengineering is “insane, utterly mad and delusional in the extreme.” He added that “the fact that some scientists who should know better are actually engaged in serious discussion of those alternatives is a mark of how desperate some of them are feeling due to the paralysis in the global political system."

But Canadian environmental engineer David Keith is taken seriously by policymakers and scientists when he speaks about the possibilities of geoengineering.

Keith was a long-time professor at the University of Calgary and is now a Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Gordon McKay Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. He’s particularly interested in solar geoengineering, or solar radiation management, which would involve putting tiny sulphur particles into the stratosphere, where they would reflect solar energy back to space.

In his new book, A Case for Climate Engineering, Keith says that geoengineering is a “brutally ugly technical fix.” He cheerfully admits that he has a lot of qualms about it as a technology that could have dangerous and unintended consequences, and that it doesn’t address the root cause of climate change: the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

But, as Keith told The Sunday Edition’s Michael Enright in an interview, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the fact that it could rapidly lower the Earth’s temperature and counteract some of the effects of climate change.

It’s technically feasible and relatively inexpensive to do, he adds.

[You can hear Michael Enright’s entire conversation with David Keith this weekend in Hour 2 of The Sunday Edition, which begins at 10:05 a.m. on CBC Radio One, or in the audio-player link at the top-left of this page.]


Re: The Geoengineering Thread Pt. 2

Unread postPosted: Tue 01 Apr 2014, 19:37:43
by Graeme
Obama Takes Bold Step to Geoengineer Climate Change

Secret Report Lays Out the Plan

A heavily redacted copy of a classified report titled "America Cools Down on Climate" (ACDC) and obtained by TheGreenGrok outlines the audacious plan to use commercial air traffic to mitigate the growing impacts of climate change across the United States.

The plan falls under the category of what is known as geoengineering: the attempt by humans to slow, stop, or even reverse global warming by manipulating the environment instead of aiming to slow greenhouse gas emissions themselves.

Geoengineering examples include injecting particles into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight back into space and dumping iron into the ocean to enhance the uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide by oceanic phytoplankton. The ACDC plan, code-named "Rainmaker," is considered by experts to be groundbreaking not only because it did not require the construction of a vast industrial infrastructure; it also helped keep flights on time.